What can be better than the rich, velvety smell of coffee in the morning? But coffee doesn’t always come out the way we want it to.
Does your coffee taste bland? Perhaps it tastes gritty and murky. Did you buy the wrong kind of beans?
Maybe you did. Maybe you didn’t.
Choosing the right kind of espresso beans for your coffee can be difficult. There are hundreds of brands out there.
The beans are labeled with fancy buzzwords: dark roast, medium roast, single-origin or espresso blend. You might ask yourself, How do I pick the best coffee beans for my espresso?
Well, have no fear. This article will tell you everything you need to know about espresso beans.
We’ll walk you through the differences between regular coffee and espresso, as well as how to identify good from the bad. You will also learn how to select the right one. By the time you’re done reading this article, you’ll be pulling espresso shots with the confidence of a seasoned barista!
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People often ask if espresso comes from different beans than regular coffee. Here’s the thing- regular coffee and espresso all come from the same beans.
Espresso beans are special because they are roasted for longer periods of time, which is why espresso beans are darker than ordinary coffee beans. Espresso beans have a longer roasting process.
On the other hand, roasted coffee beans tend to look oily on the outside. Beans that have a darker roast have a greasy, shiny surface. They are known as French or Italian style roasts.
Espresso is made from two kinds of coffee beans- Robusta and Arabica. While Robusta is usually used to make regular coffee, espresso is often a blend of the two.
The two beans produce coffees that taste quite different. Coffee made from Robusta beans is less sweet, less acidic, strong and has a higher caffeine content.
Arabica produces coffee that is sweeter and has a richer, more balanced flavor. Espresso blends generally contain a higher percentage of arabica. There are also espresso brands that use only Arabica beans.
Coffee beans for espresso are harvested in different parts of the world. They are primarily grown in Brazil, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Columbia, and Guatemala.
We’ve already established that coffee beans and espresso beans come from the same plant. But then how are the two different? Two major differences in how the beans are treated determine whether the beverage is ordinary coffee or espresso.
Espresso beans take more time to roast than coffee beans. Secondly, espresso is brewed differently. But that’s not all- coffee and espresso are essentially two different beverages.
Here are all the ways coffee is different from espresso-
Coffee beans selected for espresso are meant to be roasted for a longer time than beans for regular coffee. Thus, espresso beans look different, are darker in color and have an oily surface. In comparison, ordinary coffee beans are lightly roasted and don’t have an oily sheen.
Regular coffee grounds are coarse. On the other hand, beans for espresso are more finely ground. They have an almost sand-like texture.
Regular coffee has a mild flavor. Espresso is known for its strong, rich taste and an unmistakable aroma. Medium and dark-roasted espresso brews are stronger than coffee.
The unique, velvety taste is what makes espresso stand out. Coffee lacks the depth and complexity people associate with a good shot of espresso.
Coffee is brewed by simple, everyday methods. They can be made by pour-over or drip processes.
Espresso can’t be brewed like ordinary coffee. Espresso making requires an espresso machine.
A shot of espresso is brewed through the quick and high-pressure espresso method. The espresso method works by pushing hot water through a machine at high pressure within twenty-five to thirty seconds.
Since the brewing time is short (less than a minute), the beans must be ground to a fine powder. This process creates a thicker, stronger brew than regular coffee.
The process of brewing espresso gives it the characteristic layers. At the bottom of the glass, you have the flavorful, dark brown espresso. Moreover, the espresso is topped with a later of golden, creamy foam.
This foam is known as crema. Ordinary coffee doesn’t produce crema.
Brewing Robusta coffee creates more crema when compared to Arabica.
Crema isn’t always golden, though. Light-colored crema means your espresso was under-extracted and won’t be as strong or flavorful. Dark crema means your espresso was over-extracted.
Over-extracted coffee will taste harsh and bitter. However, darker roasted beans produce darker crema, so it might just be a matter of preference for many.
A cup of coffee and a shot of espresso have different amounts of caffeine. Since espresso is stronger and packs more flavor than coffee, you might expect it to have more caffeine than regular coffee. Right?
Wrong! A cup of coffee (8 oz) contains around 100mg of caffeine on average.
On the other hand, a shot of espresso (1.75 oz) contains 63mg of caffeine. You will feel more alert after a cup of coffee when compared to a shot of espresso.
Now that you know what espresso beans are and how they are supposed to be brewed, here are the top 14 best espresso beans available and why they work!
Looking for espresso beans with an amazing taste and fragrance that aren’t too expensive? Do you want to make fancy espresso effortlessly?
This medium roast coffee answers all your questions. Lavazza is one of the most popular and adored brands for coffee in Italy.
While it would work best with an espresso machine, you can also use it to make a regular cup of coffee, using the drip or pour-over method.
We love this brand for the simplest of reasons- the taste is unbelievably amazing. These coffee beans are both organic and affordable. The high quality, excellent taste, and affordability make this espresso beans our very favorite.
illy is one of Italy’s most well-known brands for coffee. This brand is well known for the flawless taste of their espresso beans.
The beans are very finely ground. This allows the maximum amount of extraction from the grounds, ensuring coffee with depth and strength.
The coffee has also been packed in a pressurized, air-free can. This keeps the coffee fresh longer and guarantees the quality of the grounds.
It is made from a 100% Arabica blend, hence, there are no bitter notes. The pure Arabica will brew espresso with a rich, soft flavor profile with a smooth, refined taste.
The espresso beans are a medium roast, perfect if you enjoy a milder brew. Medium roasted coffee beans are best for espresso because it is balanced in both taste and strength. It is also popular because of the hints of caramel and chocolate.
illy Classico Espresso is the perfect coffee if you refuse to compromise on the taste and quality. The coffee beans are finely ground and this makes it very convenient to brew the drink.
The balanced, light flavor also makes this espresso the ideal base for beverages like mocha and Americanos. If you live for your cup of coffee, getting some of these espresso beans will be a wise decision.
Lavazza’s dark roast espresso comes in four 8.8 oz bags, making them easy to store and transport. The beans are roasted and ground in Italy and the coffee has that authentic taste that espresso enthusiasts love.
The beans are pre-ground, so the espresso is easy to brew. While it works best in an espresso machine, the beans aren’t very finely ground. This is convenient because you can use them in most other kinds of coffee makers.
The espresso has a complex and rich flavor, with a strong aftertaste. Although the beans are dark roast, the coffee has a creamy taste with chocolate and vanilla notes.
This coffee uses a mix of both Arabica and Robusta. The rich flavor comes from the Robusta blend and the milder flavors are from the Arabica blend. The espresso beans are sourced from Indonesia, Brazil, and Africa.
Lavazza is often used in many Italian coffee shops. People love it because it has a balanced taste between the spicy, earthy notes and the softer, sweeter flavors. The balance is because of the 70:30 ratio of Robusta to Arabica beans.
The coffee is pretty cheap and has great quality for its price. It is pre-ground and can be used in different types of coffee makers. We love this brand for its taste, convenience, and price!
These espresso beans are super flavorful. They have a strong and distinct taste with medium acidity. Along with the rich, bitter flavor, the coffee has a sweet aftertaste. It also has a rich and earthy aroma.
Koffee Kult lets you have café-quality espresso right at home. While the beans produce the best tasting espresso when used with an espresso machine, they can also be used with a French press, or when used to make drip coffee.
The beans are ethically sourced from Columbia and Sumatra. The coffee beans are perfect for espresso as they are of premium quality. They are also made from purely Arabica blends.
This brand sells the beans whole, making it a perfect choice for a more rustic, artisanal cup of coffee. The espresso is rich and full-bodied with smoky notes and a molasses undertone.
The coffee has a complex and rich flavor. The coffee is strong and intense, without being overly bitter. The hints of smokiness complement the taste of molasses very well.
The coffee is also organic and the brand sources their coffee beans ethically. The price isn’t too high.
It is also convenient because you don’t need to own an espresso machine to make coffee from these beans. You can experience the taste of gourmet coffee without breaking your budget.
If you like your coffee creamy, this blend of medium roasted espresso beans will have you covered. These whole coffee beans come in a 2.2-pound bag and cost under $20.
But there’s more- the coffee is very mild with soft, creamy overtones. It also contains notes of brown sugar and hazelnut. The coffee also creates a smooth and soothing aroma.
Like other kinds of Lavazza coffee, these beans are roasted and blended in Italy. The beans are a blend of mostly Arabica, with just 20% Robusta. This gives the espresso its characteristic sweetness, with less crema than purely Robusta coffee.
The coffee is made from mild Central American beans and sweeter Indonesian beans. These beans are then mixed with the smooth and delicate Brazilian variety. It has a velvety and creamy flavor which makes it perfect for espressos.
Not everyone appreciates strong coffee. Sometimes you just want something milder. This coffee is perfect if you prefer softer flavors. The coffee is reasonably cheap and will last for a long time.
The mildness makes it ideal for a late afternoon or evening espresso. The coffee is a nice and soothing pick-me-up for later in the day.
If you prefer dark and strong coffee, Koffee Kult’s Dark Roast Coffee Beans are the ones for you. These espresso beans are dark roasted but have no oily covering. The beans are whole roasted and have been sourced from Columbia, Sumatra, and Guatemala.
They consist purely of the Arabica blend. The coffee has a very intense flavor without being bitter. The coffee will also have low acidity and a smooth feel to it. This makes it perfect for those looking for strong, gourmet-style espresso.
Koffee Kult also uses environmentally friendly methods of harvesting their coffee, which makes this brand both ethical and eco-friendly.
The beans produce aromatic espresso that is bright and heavy-bodies. Besides the smooth taste of coffee, there are also notes of cocoa and cinnamon. This makes it excellent to use for desserts and as an addition to hot chocolate and other drinks.
If you like stronger tasting brews without all the extra caffeine, this coffee will be your ideal choice. The espresso has a bright taste instead of being bitter.
This makes a perfect cup of coffee for cold mornings for its distinctive taste and smell. While many dark roasted coffees often taste burnt, this coffee has a smooth, clear flavor. The coffee is also pretty affordable for the premium quality the brand promises.
This gourmet coffee is a dark roasted Arabica blend. It consists of both Colombian Supremo with Sumatra Mandheling. This gives the coffee a silky, yet complex flavor.
Although this coffee has a pretty strong flavor, it has a low caffeine content. It has a very light flavor profile and mouthfeel with no aftertaste. The clean taste makes it different from other dark roasted varieties of espresso.
The complex flavor comes from the caramelized sugars of the coffee beans. This also gives it that roasted, rich taste. However, nothing is overpowering in the flavor profile of this coffee.
The beans are slowly and carefully roasted to give them the best quality. The brand has also been certified as organic and their roasting facilities are safe for food production.
These espresso beans are an excellent choice if you’re trying to cut down on caffeine. It is very light- both in terms of strength and taste.
The coffee is extremely easy to brew. You can make a cup of coffee even if you don’t have an espresso machine.
These beans also come in a 2-pound bag and cost $15. This makes the brand a solid choice if you aren’t a frequent drinker, but would prefer having coffee at home at all times.
This coffee is called ‘fog chaser’ because it is a relatively strong blend that wakes you up in the morning. It is whole-bodied and is a medium-dark roast. The coffee beans have been sourced from Central and South America.
SF Bay’s coffee is perfect for all occasions; whether you need something to wake you up at 8 am or you want to relax with a book in the evening. The espresso brewed from these beans has a comforting flavor, deep with hints of milk chocolate and toffee.
But there’s more. The coffee has a complex flavor profile and also has fruity notes of sweet mandarin.
This coffee is made from Arabica coffee, which means there is almost zero acidity or bitterness. The beans are harvested under sustainable conditions and have been verified as both organic and Kosher. San Francisco Bay Coffee guarantees freshness and quality in every cup of coffee.
Some people just can’t start the day without some strong coffee. SF Bay has just the right amount of caffeine for most coffee drinkers.
Their coffee is sweet and smooth tasting. It is also pretty easy to brew using an espresso machine or French press.
The coffee is also very affordable– just under $20 for a 2-pound bag. If you are a caffeine addict, go ahead and order a bag!
Not everyone needs fancy, gourmet coffee. Sometimes a regular bag of Starbucks coffee will get the job done. So why not get the good kind of coffee?
Starbucks dark roast coffee beans are great if you enjoy espressos but don’t want to spend money on expensive brands. For just $12, you can get 20 ounces of coffee beans.
The dark roasted beans give your coffee a stronger flavor and a robust, almost rugged body. It also has a caramel undertone, which makes it ideal for using with steamed milk to make lattes and other drinks.
The coffee has a bold flavor without being overpowering. If you want the Starbucks experience in the comfort of your kitchen, you know these beans are the ones for you.
Although this coffee doesn’t have a very complex flavor profile, it has its own rich taste. The espresso brewed is an excellent base for other beverages.
This coffee can be made in an espresso machine or a French press. You can also use it to make drip coffee or simply use it with an ordinary coffee maker.
If you aren’t too picky about your coffee, this is a good choice for you. Since the coffee is cheap, you can buy it in bulk. The coffee is also a great option for gifting friends during the holiday seasons.
Most people prefer medium roasted beans because the taste is perfectly balanced. The coffee is strong without being overpowering or bitter.
Kicking Horse’s coffee has had a cult following for several years. Their coffee is organically grown and ethically sourced. Their beans are harvested in Africa, South America, Indonesia, and Central America.
The best thing about their coffee? The heavenly taste.
This coffee has a silky, smooth taste that coffee drinkers just can’t get enough of. The coffee has a chocolatey flavor with bright, fruity notes.
The coffee comes in a 2.2 pound and costs around $22. The brand has been certified as kosher and Fairtrade. Between the amazing taste and the premium quality, this coffee has been the talk among espresso enthusiasts everywhere.
The unusual taste is what makes this coffee stand apart from other brands and blends. The coffee is ethically sourced and is harvested through environment-friendly processes.
The espresso brewed tastes like chocolate, berries, blackcurrant and brown sugar. The complex notes and undertones make the coffee different from most blends.
While it may seem unreasonably expensive, it is worth trying out at least once. If you enjoy gourmet coffee and enjoy the finer things in life, give Kicking Horse’s coffee a try.
This medium roast coffee has a rich and balanced flavor. This coffee comes in a pack of 2 2.2-pound bags.
The coffee has a bold and intense flavor, with floral and fruity undertones. It has deep flavors while remaining smooth and creamy.
The coffee has low acidity and produces a fair amount of crema when ground and brewed correctly. It has a vibrant taste because of the fruity notes. The beans are also extremely aromatic and produce fragrant and mellow coffee.
The espresso beans are a purely Arabica blend which has been sourced from Central and South America. They come as whole coffee beans and produce the best espresso when made in an espresso machine or brewed in a Moka pot.
If you like your coffee to be mellow and fruity, this is a nice choice for you. It has a smooth and rich taste and is pleasantly mild.
The coffee is also very affordable and convenient to brew. It is a great option if you drink a lot of coffee but prefer keeping things mild and light. It makes a refreshing americano and works well with iced frappes and other frozen drinks.
Intelligentsia has been producing quality espresso for almost 25 years now. They are immensely popular among coffee drinkers across the world.
This espresso has a very complex flavor profile and is bursting with different notes and tastes. The coffee has a deep and savory base note. This is complemented by top notes of dark chocolate, warm brown sugar, and cherry.
They come as whole beans and are medium roast. This results in the balanced flavors- rich and robust coffee with brighter fruity tones.
The brand is special because they have adopted Direct Trade practices, which lets customers enjoy their products directly. They are also committed to fair trade practices and environmentally safe farming practices.
In addition to this, they promise superb quality and turn the everyday act of drinking coffee into a gourmet experience.
Intelligentsia promises a rich and intense flavored brew without tasting bitter or acrid. This coffee is exquisite because it has a deep chocolate flavor with a hint of smoky molasses.
The espresso brewed will be light and delicate. This makes it perfect for those who have a sensitive stomach. The lack of acidity also makes it ideal for use in milk-based beverages.
The espresso beans in this Starbucks Blend are dark roasted and produce deep and intense tasting coffee. The brew will be strong with a significant amount of caffeine. However, it also has a sweet, caramel flavor.
The coffee pairs very well with steamed milk and this makes it perfect for lattes and cappuccinos. Nevertheless, it also makes an excellent shot of espresso.
Each pack contains 6 12-oz bags of whole coffee beans. The strong flavor of this coffee makes it ideal to have for breakfast. The dark roast delivers the richest flavor and conveys the essence of the coffee bean.
These French roasted beans need to be ground finely and can be used with an espresso machine or a Keurig for best results.
The coffee is very convenient because of how affordable it is. The coffee comes in bulk with 6 packs of 12-oz coffee beans for only $42. The beans will last a very long time before running out.
The coffee has a simple but pleasant flavor. It is strong and works well when blended with steamed milk to make an endless variety of beverages. It is perfect for occasions when you want a Starbucks drink, but too lazy to leave the house.
This brand delivers authentic Italian roasted coffee beans and comes in 5-pound bags.
The coffee beans have been sourced from many different places including India, Africa, and Latin America.
It has a rich flavor with a deep and toasty aroma. The coffee has notes of honey and molasses and a sweet, decadent taste. The whole beans are perfect for making artisanal coffee. The coffee also has base notes of cocoa and molasses and has a distinct, smokey flavor as well.
In spite of the intense taste and the dark roast, the coffee is pretty mild in terms of caffeine content. It has a balanced body and medium acidity.
The gourmet beans produce the best coffee when used in an espresso machine but can also be used with a French press, drip coffee maker, percolator, and pour-overs.
Coffee Beans is popular because of how affordable it is. The 5-pound bag is also very convenient as it makes sure you won’t run out of coffee any time soon.
It also helps that the coffee can be made with most kinds of coffee makers. You won’t need any special equipment to brew coffee. However, the best espresso needs an espresso machine to be brewed perfectly.
Here are a couple of things you should keep in mind when shopping around for espresso beans.
While most people prefer Arabica because of its smooth and sweeter taste, it has a pretty low caffeine content. On the other hand, Robusta beans produce more bitter, acidic coffee. However, they do contain more caffeine and produce more crema.
Many brands sell coffee that is a mix of the two. Choose a blend that contains a ratio of Arabica and Robusta that suits your preferences.
If you prefer coffee that is stronger and more acidic, choose a coffee that contains more Robusta. If you want something milder in terms of taste or caffeine, pick something that is mostly or completely Arabica.
Many coffee drinkers are obsessed with crema. This isn’t just because it makes your coffee look more attractive. Crema is also a sign that your coffee beans are high quality, well roasted and finely ground.
If you enjoy a thick, rich crema in your coffee, choose coffee beans that are at least 30% Robusta. Arabica produces coffee with thin and sparse crema.
An espresso machine is also needed to produce plenty of crema in your coffee. You won’t get the same results with pour-over coffee.
If your crema has very large bubbles, your coffee is too coarse. Grind it more finely or get some pre-ground coffee. If you are worried about quality, illy and Lavazza produce premium quality coffee beans that are pre-ground.
Coffee can taste differently based on where it was harvested. This is because humidity, soil factors, temperature, and rainfall can all affect what your coffee tastes like.
Enjoy coffee with a bolder, more intense flavor? Go for Indonesian blends, particularly the Java or Sumatran variety. They are known for their strength and robust body.
If you prefer coffee with a brighter taste and fruitier notes, Hawaiian and Kenyan coffee beans have floral notes.
On the other hand, Brazilian coffee has a distinctly nuttier taste and Ethiopian coffee beans have a lot of variety. They have different tones ranging from deep to light and floral.
The method and length of roasting the beans also determine the taste of your espresso. Coffee enthusiasts prefer darker roasts because they are stronger and have less acidity. They also have a higher percentage of natural oils and creates more crema than lighter roasts.
Since darker roasts are less acidic, they work well with steamed milk to make other beverages. If you want to use your espresso as a base to make lattes and other drinks, a darker roast is a better option.
Medium roasts are preferred by those who enjoy milder flavors in their coffee. They are more acidic than darker roasts and also have a slightly more complex flavor profile. If you enjoy drinking plain espresso, a medium roast is the better choice.
If you’re still confused about the art of brewing espresso, have no fear. We’ll answer any questions you might have.
Some coffee beans work better in automatic espresso makers than others. Espresso machines work best when the coffee is finely ground. Coarsely ground coffee can clog up the coffee maker.
Lavazza Super Crema, Starbucks Whole Bean Espresso, Café Don Pablo, and Koffee Kult’s coffee beans are the best choice if you own an automatic espresso machine. These coffee beans can be ground to a fine powder and this makes them ideal for espresso machines.
An automatic espresso maker will work best for these brands as they will extract the most flavor out of the coffee beans.
Espresso is best made with beans that have been specially harvested and processed to make espresso. They are roasted at high temperatures and for a longer period of time. This gives them a strong and rich flavor.
While you can use regular coffee beans to make espresso, it will have a sour and rancid taste. Espresso made from regular coffee will not have the crema that is present in espresso.
Coffee beans for espresso are roasted more intensely than ordinary coffee. The beans are darker than regular coffee beans. They also have an oily covering and appear shiny.
Contrary to popular belief, espresso is quite good for you. The beverage is rich in antioxidants.
Antioxidants protect our cells from damage. They also help prevent cancer and keep our cells working properly.
Besides this, there is evidence that the compounds in black coffee or espresso reduces the risk of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and even liver issues. Although people are often wary about drinking too much coffee, a cup every day is quite a healthy choice. Of course, this is only applicable if you drink espresso without adding extra sugar or creamer.
Most baristas prefer using medium-dark roast coffee beans for espresso. This roast produces coffee that is full-bodied and has a rich and deep flavor.
Dark roast coffees can also be used for espresso; however, they have the chance of being bitter or too strong. They are preferred by frequent coffee drinkers and espresso enthusiasts.
Medium roast will also produce a decent espresso. But medium roast beans can produce a brew that can be too mild for experienced coffee drinkers. They are a good choice if you are just beginning to venture into coffee brewing.
A single shot of espresso needs at least 8 grams of coffee. There are around 4000 beans in one pound of coffee.
This means each coffee bean weighs 0.113398 grams. 80 coffee beans will, therefore, weigh approximately 9 grams. This means you will need almost 80 espresso beans to brew a shot of espresso.
These measurements work best for medium-dark and dark roast coffee beans. To put things more simply, you need one tablespoon of ground coffee powder to pull a single shot of espresso. For a double shot, use two tablespoons of coffee grounds.
If you are an espresso aficionado, there’s no doubt that your coffee needs to have crema. It is a general rule of thumb that the fresher the coffee beans, the more crema it will produce.
Coffee blends with more Robusta will also produce a thicker and creamier crema. Coffee made from purely Arabica will have less crema in comparison.
If you want an espresso with lots of crema, choose brands like Lavazza Crema e Gusto. If you want an espresso with next-level crema Death Wish Coffee is worth looking into. To get the best kind of crema, brew your espresso in an automatic espresso machine.
A Breville Barista Express is a great espresso machine if you want to brew espresso at home. Most Breville devices will do a great job of brewing an excellent espresso shot.
Lavazza Super Crema Whole Beans are one of the better options for your Breville coffee maker. The machine will draw out the almond undertones in these coffee beans.
If you want to try your hand at home roasting green coffee beans, there are several factors you need to consider. The origin of your beans will determine the sweetness of your espresso.
Brazilian green coffees have a more mellow flavor that many people prefer in their espresso. Sumatran beans have a deeper, more complex flavor.
Columbian Supremo green coffee beans are also a decent choice if you are just beginning to experiment with green coffee beans.
Organic coffee is always a healthier and safer option. Organic coffee is farmed through eco-friendly harvesting methods; it is also free from fertilizers and pesticides. People also prefer organic coffee for their flavor and depth.
Kicking Horse, Koffee Kult, and Coffee Bean are all great options for organic coffee beans. While Koffee Kult and Kicking Horse are superb in terms of quality, Coffee Bean is great for buying bulk. Café Don Pablo is also a good choice for organic coffee beans.
If you are new to brewing coffee, the world of espresso can be a little frightening. Between all the different blends, roasts and brands, it is easy to get lost.
Learning about different roasts, types, and flavors of coffee can be an exciting experience. When you are already on this journey to discover the world of coffee beans, it is hard not to feel the adrenaline! Yes, that’s the caffeine effect.
Now that you know everything there is to know about the best espresso beans available, you can go brew the best coffee of your life. You might just be the next big barista!